Turlock High School club Kitchens for Change aims to make a tangible difference in the community by using their culinary skills to feed those most in need.
The club gives back on two fronts, they hold fundraisers, where they donate the proceeds to local charitable organizations, and they also cook and serve meals for people in need — like they did on Thursday at the Turlock Gospel Mission.
Club President Elias Rabine and Vice President Audrey Smallwood both grew up in the restaurant industry and want to use their knowledge to give back in the most impactful way.
“From a very young age I've been working at restaurants and seeing the impact that food can have on people, just sharing a meal with someone can genuinely just change your life. So, we know the community and the love that can be spread through food and he really wanted to get students involved with that change that can happen so that's what we did,” said Smallwood
“I think it's also something that we can do really well. She worked at the LaMo and I worked at First and Main, so it's like doing an event where we cook food and then we serve food to the people. We both know how to do that so we can use our talents to really impact the community,” said Rabine.
The idea to start Kitchens for Change started during the pandemic when the two club leaders saw some Turlock residents not having access to a lot of meals.
“After the pandemic we just saw a lot of food insecurity in our community. And I kind of had the idea and then I think Audrey had a similar idea where it was just like, what can we do as high school kids? What can we do to help our community? And this is kind of the idea that we had on our way to help,” said Rabine.
“I think it's really important to give back, especially post pandemic. All of us really experienced the effects that it had on us, some more than others. So, you know it's really great to just get in here, get involved, really help the people who experienced the pandemic the worst,” said Smallwood.
Pitman High Culinary Arts teacher and Rabine’s mother Mohini Singh, operates as advisor to the club and was inspired when these students came to her and decided they wanted to give back to their community.
“As I was listening to the conversations of these children, they really inspired me. They’re applying to universities like Cambridge and UCLA and they took the time out of all their AP classes and spent three hours cooking, and that is what makes me so happy to be a part of it,” said Singh.
The club is currently available at Turlock High, but Singh is attempting to bring it to Pitman and other schools in Turlock as well.
Some fundraisers the club has planned are at LaMo on Nov. 5 and at Bistro 234 on Nov. 15. The students will be selling meals and giving the proceeds to local charities like Westside Ministries. The students are also going to be prepping, cooking and serving all the meals.